It will be May 2020, and we want MLB.com reporters to tell us what their favorite baseball book is. We’ve broken them down into two parts below. Take a look at those picks.
This is how it works: The top section is for books that were chosen by more than one reporter. Then there is a second section for books that only got one vote each.
It was written by Bob Uecker and Mickey Herskowitz, and it’s about a fisherman who gets caught in the wrong place.
A page turn is all it takes to find a laugh in Bob Uecker’s book about himself. There is no table of contents yet.
He says this in the beginning of the credits for the book with Mickey Herskowitz that he co-wrote: “When people ask who made me a broadcaster, or a baseball humorist, I give them the names of a dozen pitchers in the National League.” This is the start of a self-deprecating look at Uecker’s life in baseball, from a backup catcher who hit.200 to a beloved broadcaster and entertainer who is known as “Mr. Baseball,” or “The Voice.” Many of the stories that Uecker told on stage as an opening act for trumpeter Al Hirt are told in this story. They are both funny and sometimes true. They caught Johnny Carson’s eye, which led to more than 100 appearances on “The Tonight Show,” which he did. The rest of it is history. He is Adam McCalvy.
“Summer of ’49” by David Halberstam
“Summer of ’49” shows how baseball was seen as a small part of society at the time. It was after World War II when David Halberstam put the Yankees-Red Sox American League pennant race and the Joe DiMaggio–Ted Williams rivalry in the context of post-war America. In his book, Halberstam talks about the contrast between DiMaggio’s grace and Williams’ brusk, analytical approach. He also talks about the difference between DiMaggio’s public celebrity and private personality against the bright lights of New York and the media coverage for each. A Red Sox team is weighing expectations and disappointment, and a Yankees team is trying to fight the idea that it’s just one man.
A pennant race comes down to the last day of the season and a Yankees-Red Sox game in the Bronx, with a World Series spot and batting title for Williams on the line. You already know the ending, but Halberstam’s way of getting you there is a lot of fun to read. In this case, it was Jason Beck.
“The Only Rule Is It Has To Work” by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller
Baseball is at its best when it comes up with new ideas. People have been coming up with new ways to play the game for more than 100 years now. When you think of these ideas, it’s much easier to come up with them than it is to put them into practice on a field with real professional ballplayers!
Five years ago, Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller were given the chance to run the Sonoma Stompers, a Minor League team in California that was not part of a major league. It was up to the two analytically-minded writers to use any strategy they wanted to use as long as it worked. That makes the book a safe place for baseball fans who aren’t afraid to be different. Optimizing the bullpen and five-man infields But Lindbergh and Miller’s problems are a great reminder of how complicated the sport is. They have a lot to deal with. Baseball has always been a part of its identity because of its numbers. People are what this game is all about, but as the authors say, it’s also a game about people. The person who wrote this is AJ Cassavell.
“Ball Four” by Jim Bouton with Leonard Shecter
Jim Bouton, a former pitcher in the big leagues, wrote this book 50 years ago. It shocked the sports world when it came out. It’s still a must-read for any baseball fan. The way fans interact with athletes has changed a lot since social media and the 24-hour news cycle came out. “Ball Four” gave fans a never-before-seen look into the clubhouse and the lives of Major League Baseball players.
This diary of Bouton’s 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros was full of jokes and sarcasm. It talked about everything from drinking and drug use among his teammates (and himself) to contract disagreements between players and managers at a time before free agency. Even at the time, it might have been the way Bouton talked about Mickey Mantle’s drinking and other off-field behavior in public. This first-of-its-kind look into the lives of some professional athletes has been around for a long time. It hasn’t changed much. He is Paul Casella.
Sign up to get our Morning Lineup every day so you can stay up to date on the most important news in Major League Baseball.
“Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig” by Jonathan Eig
The “luckiest man on the face of the Earth” speech made by Yankee great Lou Gehrig in 1939, when he was forced to retire because of a then-unknown disease that would later be called ALS. Many baseball fans and non-fans know this speech. It’s possible that some people have seen the 1942 movie “Pride of the Yankees,” which made fun of Gehrig’s life with his team and his wife, Eleanor, and his record-setting streak of 2,130 games played.
That’s not what Jonathan Eig’s biography is about. It talks about how he tried to find a new direction for his life and a cure for his illness for two years after the Gehrig speech. On the days between trips to the Mayo Clinic, the man who used to be known as “The Iron Horse” worked as a probation officer, sat in the Yankees’ dugout in street clothes, and dealt with the problems that come with having a body that doesn’t work like it used to. The book also tells the whole story of Gehrig’s childhood, his time with the Yankees, his relationship with Eleanor, and his friendship with Babe Ruth. — It was Mark Sheldon who came up with the idea
“October 1964” by David Halberstam
“October 1964” is a great book about the last days of the Yankees, a team that relied on established rules and power. It’s written almost like a sequel to “Summer of ’49.” The Cardinals, on the other hand, were an upstart and modernizing team built on strategy and speed. Halberstam looks at the differences between these two teams while putting the 1964 season in the right historical context.
It’s more than just a baseball report on the season. In Halberstam’s book, he shows how changes in American society, especially in terms of race and civil rights, were being played out in baseball. People who played, managed, coached, scouted, and owned teams all have stories in this book about how baseball changed in a big way at a very important time. It gives you a very detailed picture of the faces of baseball, like Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Bob Gibson, and Lou Brock, but it also makes them seem more real. It’s a great way to get your fix of baseball. You get to see the season build up, and then the seven-game World Series at the end. As the old era comes to an end, you can see how important baseball and society are together. Anne Rogers wrote this.
“Moneyball” by Michael Lewis
Before research-and-development staffers were hired all over MLB to look over TrackMan and Rapsodo tables and run complicated search-and-sort queries on huge amounts of data, conventional wisdom still played a big role in the decision-making of Major League front offices. This was mostly because of the well-established inertia of tradition in the game.
You can read about it in Michael Lewis’ book “Moneyball,” which is about the Oakland A’s and how they used unconventional thinking to win “The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.” It’s about how Billy Beane, his staff, and the A’s used “contrarian thinking” in player acquisition and evaluation. Even though the movie version of the book took a lot of liberties for the sake of Hollywood, it still has a lot of interesting things to say about baseball culture, famous names from MLB, and the 2002 A’s and their legendary winning streak. It’s a story that both fans and people who don’t like baseball will find interesting. It was the first step in a wave of people who wanted to think about baseball in a new way. The park is named after Do-Hyoung Park
“The Arm” by Jeff Passan
Because the story is so important, even though it’s written well and the story is laid out well, it’s what makes it so interesting. The biggest mystery in baseball right now is how to stop UCL tears. The question is, has anyone found a way to solve it? Is that even possible, and why did it take so long? Jake Crouse:
“Beyond the Sixth Game” by Peter Gammons
Behind the scenes look at the colorful Red Sox teams of the mid-1970s, and the story behind their abrupt breakup in early ’80s. Peter Gammons was the only person who knew more about baseball and the Red Sox than anyone else at the time. Ian Browne:
“The Boys of Summer” by Roger Kahn
An all-time great. Roger Kahn, who lived near Ebbets Field, worked for the New York Herald Tribune in the early 1950s. He wrote about the Brooklyn Dodgers for the paper. It talks about Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball and stories about Pee Wee, Carl, and the rest. It also talks about the bond Kahn had with his father, who was a big baseball fan. In this case, Joe Frisaro is the person who wrote this.